Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Definition - What does Hatha Yoga Pradipika mean?

Written in the 15th century by Swami Svatmarama, the "Hatha Yoga Pradipika" is the oldest surviving manual of Hatha yoga and one of the three most important texts about the discipline. The other two influential texts are "Gheranda Samhita" and "Shiva Samhita."

In Sanskrit, the pradipika means "light," "lamp," or "to illuminate." Because this text sheds light on the Hatha yoga practice, it is called "Hatha Yoga Pradipika."

Swami Svatmarama was the disciple of Guru Gorakhnath, who is considered the maha yogi, or the "great yogi." Gorakhnath is supposedly the student of Matsyendra, the original yogi who took his lessons directly from Lord Shiva.

Yogapedia explains Hatha Yoga Pradipika

"Hatha Yoga Pradipika" is an elaborate presentation of practical guidelines for Hatha yoga, intended to lead the practitioner from awareness of the body to awareness of the Self. The techniques of Hatha yoga explained in the text are meant to guide the practitioner toward Self-realization, which, in turn, leads to enlightenment.

"Hatha Yoga Pradipika" contains four chapters:

  1. Asana: Contains detailed information on the names of asanas, how to perform them, and what kind of diet will enhance the benefits of their practice.
  2. Pranayama: Explains various breathing techniques and their health benefits. This chapter also talks about the practice of shatkarma, the six purification techniques that cleanse the body and are essential to preparing for yogic practice.
  3. Mudras and Bandhas: Explains the mudras (gestures) and bandhas (locks) that aid in awakening kundalini power, which leads to enlightenment.
  4. Samadhi: Describes techniques that lead to enlightenment and eternal bliss.

Swami Svatmarama says that practicing Hatha yoga with the right attitude will help the practitioner attain siddhis (spiritual powers), such as clairvoyance. A practitioner who reaches this stage of samadhi cannot be overpowered.

"Hatha Yoga Pradipika" serves as the basis for various modern books on the practice of Hatha yoga. It is an excellent guide to advancing in yoga practice and spirituality.

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